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Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,555 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,555
Reviews: 1,100
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 112
Gots: 231 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-26-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,555 | Reviews: 1,100 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cowens22
3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Duvel tulip. Thin head on pour. Generated frothy head when swirled in tulip. Smoky, malty, caramel, and molasses in the nose. Taste of malts (roasted), molasses, almost a port taste as it gets room temp. All of these are quickly diminishing as it rolls off the tongue. Mouthfeel is a little thinner than expected from the style but still a middle of the road mouth feel.

Definitely expected more from this beer. I am a huge fan of everything that Great Divide does but this one is just not for me. I expected a little more mouthfeel than that and even though it is an english style old ale, I was found myself wanting more of a hop character.

Photo of evantwomey
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Date on bottle Sept. 4, 2008 (7 months old). Poured into an oversized snifter. Appearance is perfect. Color is a deep, dark red. Good clarity, thin layer of fuzzy foam, and plenty of lacing. Smell blew me away. The dry-hops which seemed weird after reading the bottle really seem to meld nicely with the malt-assault my nose is currently experiencing. Alcohol barely noticeable. Plenty of dark caramel, dark fruits, butterscotch...like a rich double bock. On the first sip, the first thing I notice is the almost slippery mouthfeel. Reminiscent of some imperial stouts in its 'chewiness'. Taste is extraordinarily malty, with a sweet finish and a lingering alcohol/hop burn. However, the boozy/bitter finish is welcome in a beer this malty. No oxidation noticeable, I think this beer would age beautifully. I would say the drinkability is relatively low due to the high viscosity, but I wouldn't think twice about drinking 2-3 of these. Will definitely buy this again.

Photo of Tone
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, dark amber color. 1/3 inch head of a pale tan color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, roasted malt, hops, a sugary sweetness, and a hint of smoke. Fits the style of an English Old Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and slightly thick with an average carbonation level and a high bitterness level. Tastes of alcohol up front, then some good smoke flavors, roasted malt next, a sweet malt and hop background, and more alcohol in the finish. Overall, great flavors, but the alcohol is not hidden very well. I'd still recommend this brew but it does pack a punch.

Photo of ProfessorHops
3.79/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I hope I have the right beer. My bottle looks a little different and advertises the brew is English style old ale. I think I'm right, a lot of the other reviews sound the same.

Appearance- Dark brown.

Aroma-Copper and taffy.

Pallet- Very good... Sweet caramel, incased in malt.

Finish- Long and smoky.

Guzzle Factor Per Style- Newcastle goes down easier. This beer bitter bight's hard. But still very good

Texture- Ale like

Extra: Very good beer. Very bitter but still has robust malt. Not a quencher. But a great pizza beer. I am going to enjoy my second bottle with pizza. Can't wait.

Photo of erosier
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours a nice amber copper color with a tall and medium bodied off-white colored head that laces the glass very nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet roasted malts, some caramelized malts, some nutty aromas and a hint of hops at the end.
T: Tastes of sweet roasted and caramelized malts, some nutty flavor, and a nice faint hoppy finish. Hints of vinous fruit throughout as well.
M: Very smooth, warming, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable beer, I would recommend this for sure.

Photo of WilliamD
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pilsner glass. Copper-red with a very thin, white head. Many small bubbles rising from the bottom.
Malt aroma is prominent. Caramel and cream as well.
Very pleasant malt taste. Rich and creamy, balanced well with slight bitterness. Nice complex aftertaste.
Crisp, slightly sticky, and warming.
Didn't really notice the booze despite the high ABV. Quite tasty, but rich. Two would be the limit for me in one sitting. But this fine ale is not meant to be consumed in large quantities, so no knocks against it for drinkability. What was consumed was consumed with ease as well as much enjoyment.
Purchased as a single--might have to pick up some more.

Photo of stumac
4.56/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love it every winter when I can get this beer.

Pours up a reddish amer color with a nice big, frothy tan head. Great retentive lacing. The nose is caramel, toffee, sweet malts, a little diacetyl, a little juana aroma comin off my shirt. I taste craziness from mel in the air, a nutty, malty, smoothe start to a bitter, scratchy, hop biting finish. Damn I love the finish. Definitely not a typical "Christmas" beer but for sure one of my all time favorite "Winter Releases"...

A perfect beer...

Photo of Onenote81
3.35/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep mahogany with a massive bubbling tan head that spills all over my counter. Great retention paired with beautiful sticky lacing. Smells of nuts, some coffee, vanilla, and malt. Decent.

Mouthfeel is weak and watery. For a "big" beer like this, it is disappointing. Decent carbonation, just too slick. Taste is a big wallop of nuttiness that I was not expecting. Some of the bitter walnut aftertaste in there. I'm also getting some raisin, booze, and slight spiciness. Not bad. I'm glad I got this, and I'd most likely get it again next winter, but I wouldn't drink more than 1 at a time.

Photo of TheThirdFloyd
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Murky dark bronze, with great tan 2 finger head that laced well throughout. Impressive carbonation
S- Great aroma- Nuttiness, a little booze, floral and hint of citrus hop notes, coffee? Maybe my imagination of "hibernating" in a cozy cabin somewhere but a campfire/oaky scent?
T- One word- balance. I am a hophead, so I really enjoyed the upfront estery, citrusy hop elements here that are quickly answered by lightly warming booze, nutty and deeply flavorful biscuit malt flavors, and again after no research on this beer do I taste oak again? Not sure about the aging method if this is truly an American Version of a stock ale/old ale
M- I really like the added tingle from somewhat heavy carbonation in addition to the lightly noticeable booziness. Overall, this stays right down the middle for me. Not too watery, not to thick, a little oil, a little perceived grit so again the balance theme we're talking about here.
D- The only drawback would be the ABV. I could see where some might be turned off by some of the booze that comes through here (at least for me) but I find it to be a greatly balanced beer where the booze is necessary. I may want to drink more of these than I should because I think this is a superb, excellently balanced beer that I think is one of the more underrated selections out there. I'd love to age this stuff another year, but I drank it all and can't find anymore around Chi-town. Big fan, and one of my personal favorites

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.32/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 12/8/2007 (bottled 2007):

Pours a dark brown colored body, with a tannish colored head, okay. Has a very hoppy aroma, with some malts, fresh & fizzy smelling, also coffee. Has a coffee taste, malty nutty, balanced somewhat by the hops. Some alcohol.

Photo of FrognutUnl
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep brownish red in color with a scant tan head that fades away rather quickly.

S - Smells of chocolate and caramel permeate the nose with notes of fruitiness and a slight bit of alcohol.
T - A bit earthy and sweet with heavy chocolate overtones. The alcohol comes through a slight amount in the finish, but not nearly as much as the nose would have indicated. As the glass warms just a touch some peppery, spicy flavors become very apparent.

M - A little over carbonated in my opinion, but not by much.

O - This certainly a delicious brew that is well balanced in flavor with a fair amount of complexity and a bouquet. I would love to see what this does in a year or two.

Photo of MEsquandoles
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle bottled in Oct2008, poured into Lucifer snifer.

My favourite Old Ale, hands down. I really like what their hopping rates and dry hop do to this. And GD is incredible for making big beers very smooth and drinkable.

Nice head, esecially for an Old Ale (hops).

Peat, caramel, coffee, chocolate, woodiness or sap, nutty, but a nice green presence from their use of hops. I like that it's not to sweet for me, as many old ales. I'd love to see the recipe on this...Taste like an Imperial Porter or Imperial Brown.

Incredibly drinkable for its age. Also very cellarable - turns into a smooth and creamy tootsie roll.

Drinkability is like no other. Unique and not much wrong with this. (If anything, perhaps that it's not so intense, complex, or less drinkable like most Old Ales).

I could drink a bomber of this (although I've only seen it in 12oz bottles; not draft either).

Photo of ccrida
4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle (bottled Nov 12 2008) poured into my Meantime snifter, Hibernation Ale is a dull dark bronze with a large, light sand colore head that leaves thick, foamy lace that is unusual for the style. Served ~60F.

Smell is strong, spicy hops, fruity ale esters.

Taste is also strong, very rich, with a nice bite from the noble hops contrasted by the malty sweetness. Orange marmalade, there's a fruitiness to it from the esters and hops that I dig.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, a bit dry, medium bodied.

Drinkability is pretty high for me, particularly for the style and age, it's a drinkable 'old ale' for sure. But it's definitely an American take on the style, lacking the intense malt centralization that characterizes the English versions that define the style. Great price and availability increases the drinkabilty for sure, i should try to age a few at some point...

Photo of JohnQVegas
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into red wine glass.

Pours a dark reddish brown, murky, with a thin, soapy off-white head.

Nose is loaded with cocoa mixed with a caramel sweetness. Fruity esthers and some boozey alcohol almost run wild. Nice nose, very intense, but very new too. Put a little age on this one to refine it a bit and I think it'd take it to a whole new level.

Taste has lots of cocoa, a bit of brown sugar, and a leafy hop presence - almost vegetal. Seriously, it's like someone chucked in a dry leaf towards the finish. Some warming alcohol on the finish.

As the beer warmed from cellar to room temperature, the leafy hop presence receded and left an earthy bitterness instead. Still a bit leafy, green, vegetal, but not dominatingly so. Much more palatable, though this is still a beer that would come into its own with some time in the cellar.

Mouthfeel is fluffy, a bit creamy, lively, and a bit syrupy.

Weird beer at first, but as the palate acclimated, got better. Split the difference in the score.

Photo of Ior
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Inviting very dark amber/reddish color. Biege head with some retention and lacing.

Smell is dominated by an excellent mix of chocolate from the malts and orange from the hops. Great balance! There is some alcohol and burnt notes in there as well.

Tastewise, sweet - but not overly sweet - malts come first, followed by orangey hops. Some resin and dry leaves can be detected too. Very long finish, with an assertive but not too dominant bitterness.

Mouthfeel is lighter than expected and slighly slick. Perhaps it would have benefited from a little more carbonation, perhaps not.

Drinkability is very good considering the style and ABV. Goes down easily thanks to good balance and well masked alcohol.

Photo of Yetiman420
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Kudos off the bat for a beer that contains an interesting suggested food pairing on the bottle. In this case, aged hard Dutch cow's milk cheese, roasted chicken, and grilled vegetables. Mmmmm, I'm hungry.

Brown pour with two finger head into Unibroue tulip glass. Thin head retention and random lacing throughout consumption.

Delightful, malty aroma. This coming from a person who prefers less malt profile. A touch of spice as well in the aroma. Very nice.

Exceptional and dangerous drinkability for an 8% beer.

One of the finest winter warmers I've tasted. Looking forward to spending more time with this next holiday.

Photo of mikereaser
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a dark amber color with a 1/4 inch of foam that quickly dissipates to nothing

S - sweet caramel malt and breadiness with a hint of alcohol

T - sweet malty flavor, brown sugar and maple syrup, and alcohol heat

M/D - Nice drinking brew, a 2008 that I consumed fresh, I look forward to putting the next one away for a year to compare.

Photo of david131
3.46/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled November 2008

A- An absolutely clear blood red liquid with a creamy slightly off white head. The lacing is great as the beer works its way down the side of the glass.

S- A very earthy chocolate aroma, a bit of ash, some dry oatmeal, and a bit of alcohol is noticeable. I can appreciate what they are going for, but I am just not digging it.

T- A dark chocolate flavor, some earth, and just a bit of citrus hoppiness. This is actually pretty mild for the ABV and how fresh it is.

M- Very smooth on the palate, but a bit on the thin side. There is a lasting dryness as well.

D- Pretty smooth for a fresh old ale. I do not really dig the flavor, but who knows, with some time on this it may turn into something totally different.

Photo of firkinhophead
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 Vintage

Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a thin head of multiple-sized bubbles.

Aroma is subdued, with some nut, brown bread, and caramel. A hint of banana-like esters and sweet spices as it warms.

Taste is well balanced, with brown sugar sweetness and an herbal bitterness. A bit of metallic taste and an acidic bite that is not altogether pleasant. Husky malt, earthy nut bitterness, burnt sugar. A hint of over-ripe fruit, maple, and orange zest.

Mouthfeel is full, with a fairly active carbonation. Not overly sticky or cloying. Fairly dry, spicy finish. Warming alcohol is not overbearing.

Overall a nice balance but the flavors don't seem to have melded. Lacks a fruity, brandy-like underpinning that makes a good barleywine IMO. Bitterness is a bit astringent, despite a year in the cellar. Did the fruity elements drop out? I have had this fresh and enjoyed it. Aging may not have benefitted it much. Not bad, but not great.

Photo of sjohansen
4.64/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been looking forward to Hibernation for quite a while. It pours a dark, dark amber. It's clear, but dark enough that it's tough to see through. Tons of tiny bubbles float to the top. The brew started with a one finger thick head, that reduced, but some of the head sticks around until almost the last sip. Gets some ok lace. Looking at the glass after the session, and there's definitely stick.

Lost of brown sugar in the nose. There is a rich oak note as it warms. It's more likely roasted malts, but I really think this is what Ron Burgandy's desk smells like.

Most of the taste is sweet. Sweetness from the malt, sweetness that hints at brown sugar/maple syrup. There are caramel notes. Also a slight heat from the alcohol.

The ale has a pleasantly thick mouthfeel, but it's unbelievably smooth and soft. It's creamy and almost has a consistency of light syrup.

This was sweeter and thicker than other old ale styles I've had over the winter months. It's packed with brown sugar, and reminds of a high alcohol brown ale at points. Definitely something I'll need to get more of, and a new winter classic that will be on my list every season.

Photo of Asgeirr
4.62/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2007

Appearance: Great Divides Hibernation Ale poured into a snifter delivers dark ruby colour a along with a pale grey medium dense crown which resides after a minute and leaves plenty of lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: Probably the most accentuated and powerful aromas I've ever come across in a beer! We get bread dough and some diacetyl, (or sweet yeast and syrup in combination with some butter for that matter) dark fruits like, plums, raisins and figs along with some caramel lurking in the "background" if there is a background for this beer that is...

Taste: Primarily a up-front burnt malt sensation (greatly similar to that of the charcoal taste one could get from a "smoked beer") this, however gradually transforms into a more and more bitter -- and slightly acidic -- character as the temperature increases (and come to think of it: perhaps some licorice from the coal-like sensation).

Continually, we get a caramel and butter 'n' bread-like sweetness. The figs once again emerges, but in a more gentle fashion this time, the alcohol is not all that prominent in taste but leaves a warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and full as hell! As stated this is a vintage and therefore it has a lower amount of carbonation but still enough to spice up the smooth character of this beer along with some freshness.

Drinkability: Tried it when I first bought it in 2007, have one left, gonna store it for at least another year, or so, and then compare it to that years batch. Will be going back to this one as often as possible. It is a rich and rewarding beer in all of the sensory experience compartments, truly worth a try!

Photo of imagineiii
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint tumbler. Dark amber to ruby in color. Good clarity. carbonation isnt visible. half inch of head dissipates quickly.

Lemons, pine, subdued alcohol in the scent.

Immediate alcohol touch on the tongue. Bitterness seems to come from roasted malts. Caramel, alcohol in the finish, almost tart.

Tiny carbonation on the tongue. boozy but smooth.

For a winter brew its not so drinkable, for an old ale, in my limited experience with the style, its good enough.

Photo of clemtig76
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at Charleston Beer exchange. Pours dark dark amber with a tan thick head that stays around for a very long time. Nice sticky lacing rims the glass with every sip. Aroma is of strong roasted malts with a strong alcohol presence. The taste is very malty with a nice hoppy finish. Alcohol is very evident throughout with a nice warming finish. A beer that is to partaken slowly savoring every sip.

Photo of Riccymon
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a pretty garnet color with two fingers of frothy beige head. No retention and a bit of carbonation left this beer looking a bit like a cola. The smell is a nice, subtle blend of burnt malt, nuts (hazelnuts?), and chocolate. To describe this beer in a word--balanced. In two words--delicious balance. The initial flavors are rich malt, roasty grain, nuts, and caramel, while some grapefruity hops wait in the finish, becoming more prominent as the beer warms. The combination is wonderfully balanced and complementary and a little complex. The mouthfeel is a little thin for me--again, sort of soda-like--but the balance and pleasant, clean finish make up for it. As balanced and tasty as Hibernation Ale is, I'd be glad to drink a few of these.

Overall, the six pack I picked up won't be enough!

[Edit] Returning to this beer three months later, I found the raw chocolate flavors had intensified a great deal and the mouthfeel was creamier. Delicious!

Photo of edchicma
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep caramel with a decent initial head and some lacing. Smell is balance between malt and hops. Taste starts with a tad of malt sweetness, a kick of hops and harsh alcohol overall. I believe I will age some of these bottles to see if they become less harsh. Because of the alcohol harshness, the mouthfeel is likewise harsh.. Drinkability also suffers a tad. Will revisit in another 6 months.

Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 2,555 ratings.